The ‘All-You-Need-To-Know’ Guide to Mattress Layers

Mattress Layers


A mattress is to a bed what health is to our lives. Selecting the perfect mattress takes a careful understanding of various technical issues related to the mattress and its surface. Many customers tend to become easily convinced by the technical jargon used by salesmen and end up purchasing an improper mattress that does not suit them at all. Knowledge about the technical aspects of mattresses, such as the mattress layers‘ construction process, can empower yourself with useful information and help you choose the right mattress. 

What Is Mattress Layer and What Are its Types?

A mattress has two layers – a comfort layer and a core layer. A comfort layer refers to the top layer on which we put the bed-sheet. A core layer, on the other hand, begins below the comfort layer and runs on till the base. 

The core layer material can be one of the following types:

  1. Coils – Bonnel coils, offset coils, continuous-wire coils, pocketed coils
  2. Polyfoam (above 2.5 PCF)

iii. Medium Firm Latex (22-26 ILD)

  1. Air Chamber

The comfort layer, which plays a decisive role for the customer, can be one of the following types:

  1. Memory Foam
  2. Latex

iii. Polyfoam

  1. Natural fibers, such as wool and cotton
  2. Nano or Micro coils
  3. Column gel 

A mattress may be hard or soft, depending on its layer. Hard mattresses support the spinal cord and improve blood and oxygen circulation in the body. In contrast, soft mattresses provide better cushioning to the body.

Memory Foam – Layers

Memory or viscoelastic foam mattress layers are usually 1.5 inches to 6 inches thick. The density of memory foam depends on the weight of the foam. High-density foam has a thickness of 5 pounds every cubic-feet, whereas medium-density foam and low-density foam use 4 pounds and 2 pounds every cubic-feet respectively. High-density foam is soft, durable, and the most comfortable. Medium-density foam is, however, the most commonly used foam in the market, because it reacts well to isolating body movements.  The Indentation Load Deflection (ILD) rating of a memory foam mattress determines its hardness and softness.

Latex – Layers

Latex mattresses are made from synthetic, natural, or blended latex (rubber trees’ sap). Two methods are commonly used to produce latex for mattresses – the Dunlop method and the Talalay method. The Dunlop method creates heavy and durable latex, whereas the Talalay method produces lighter and softer latex. Since Talalay is more elastic than Dunlop, it costs more. The ILD rating determines the firmness of a latex mattress. Anything less than 16 is extra-soft, 17 to 21 is soft, 22 to 26 is medium-soft, 27 to 31 is medium, 32 to 36 is medium-firm, and over 37 is firm. A majority of latex mattresses use extra-soft and soft latex for comfort layers and medium-firm and firm latex for support layers. 

Polyfoam – Layers

Polyfoam, or polyurethane foam, is a synthetic byproduct of petrochemicals. Polyfoam’s grading determines its longevity. The conventional or low-grade polyfoam mattress contains less than 1.5 pounds foam per cubic feet, where the Compression Modulus Range (CMR) is less than 2.0. High-density or medium-grade polyfoam has a density range between 1.8 and 2.5, with 2.1 to 2.3 CMR. Alternatively, a high-resiliency or high-grade polyfoam mattress has more than 2.4 PCF and CMR. 

Natural Fibers – Layers

Natural fibers refer to natural materials like wool, cotton, horsetail, bamboo, horsehair, or silk. Various processes like wrapping, compressing, batting, tufting, or packing are used to create mattress layers.  Although natural fibers are costlier than other materials, it is more durable. Wool, for example, regulates temperature and is highly elastic. Silk, on the other hand, is water-resistant and absorbs moisture. Bamboo is excellent for ventilation and can last long, whereas cotton shrinks over time and creates a firm mattress after a few uses.  


The next time you visit an online or offline mattress store, make sure you ask about ILD, CMR, and layers before deciding which hard or soft mattress to buy. In case it is too early for you to ask relevant questions, visit Wakefit to discover a few more exciting things.